Monday, October 8, 2012

An Open Letter to Travis Rodgers

Dear Travis Rodgers,
I am a big fan of yours. Your wit and humorous take on sports is entertaining and never fails to make genuinely make me laugh. I really do love your show! However, I'm not such a big fan when it comes to your views on hockey. I realize that hockey is not part of your deal, and I'm okay with that. I know that it hockey fans amuse you like children are entertained by clowns, but I still feel the need to vocalize what the lockout means to hockey fans, or at least to me.

Fans do care about the lockout, and they are upset that the first two weeks are cancelled. It isn't simply about the two weeks, which in all fairness are like you pointed out not entirely germane to a season of 82 games. What fans are upset about is that these first two weeks being cancelled are a big indicator that at least half if not the entire season could be in jeopardy. The last lockout was like the end of World War I. There was a CBA that was signed, but neither of the sides had resolved anything and resentment still lingers. This new CBA that has to be put into place is bringing out those old feelings of hate, and up to this point, the owners have been much like Goodell resisting coming to an agreement with the referees in that they really just don't care about the fans. So when fans are upset about the first two week, they aren't really upset about that but what it means. Right now, all signs point to December as a realistic deadline for the NHL with January 1st being the opening week if there is even any season at all. Fans are coming to the realization that this season is in some real trouble.

I'd also like to point out that while the casual fan may not care about the regular season, hockey fans care about it. I am a passionate Los Angeles Kings fan (and have been one since 2002 so didn't just jump the bandwagon), and I watch EVERY game. If I don't watch it live, I watch it later. What draws me to watch is that the games count, especially in the Western Conference and more specifically in the Pacific Division (which FYI includes the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix Coyotes, and the Dallas Stars). In the last few years, the there are only a few games that differentiate a 3rd place team from the 8th place team in the playoff hunt (and 16/30 teams make the playoffs, not 94%, and yes, because I say so). Not to mention the 9th and 10th place teams are usually a game or two or even a tie-breaker away from the last spot into the playoffs. It is often not guaranteed that a team will make it into the playoffs unless they win their division. And no, hockey people don't just watch in May when the playoffs start. The hunt really begins in February with the mid-season trade deadline and last stretch of games to make it back onto a playoff campaign. A lot of hockey people like to watch because these games are so critical and can be dramatic. For example, a couple years ago the Kings started in 12th place as they entered into a game against the Detroit Red Wings. They went on to win the game, and they took 5th place. However, because the game was in Detroit, and there were other games to be played in the Pacific Time Zone, the Kings ended that day in 10th. I realize that I am not like the majority of other hockey fans, but I watched the other games since they did have an impact on my team and I just enjoy hockey that much.

And casual fans do care about at least one regular season game. Most people enjoy the Winter Classic, the one outdoor game of the year. The NHL has made it into an event and has been successful in attracting even those who may not have even considered watching hockey at all. Hockey fans who usually only watch their own team play will tune in to watch this game. I think the NHL gains viewership with this hallmark game.

I can't argue that the NFL is king because you're right; it is. And the NHL might be vegimite. But it's my vegimite, and as a hockey fan, I just had to say something. We hockey fans care that the first two weeks are gone, and we really do think the regular season is important. This is where all the drama is. Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers had the first eight-point game in 24 years, putting him in the ranks of Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, and Paul Coffey. Sid the Kid tried to come back after suffering a concussion the season before. He played a few games before having to be placed on injured reserve again after a few hits. However, he did return with a vengeance in a game against the New York Rangers (who you would probably be a big fan of since they are the Broadway Blueshirts) and brought to rest the question of whether he would ever be the player he had been prior to the concussion issue. Rick Nash was the biggest player a team could try to steal away from the Columbus Blue Jackets (yes, that team that had been offered all of the New York Islanders draft picks and declined). Nash is like the Tom Brady of the Blue Jackets in the sense that he is iconic of the team and is its best/most important player. Nash had a no-trade clause, but rumors had been circulating that he was willing to be traded. During the regular season, the Los Angeles Kings went from being the worst offensive team in the league during the first half to being in the top fourth in offense and snagging the last playoff spot. The top NHL draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers, had his first hat trick (that's three goals in a game) in his third game. Meanwhile, Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes, who is one of the team's consistent top goal-scorers, finally got his first hat trick in his 1,161st game. So a lot happens during the regular season that hockey fans love to see.

In any case, I had to get that off my chest. I do love your show, and I enjoy it immensely. I'm sure this little rant of mine will just make you laugh and provide some entertainment, but hockey fans care. And yes, hockey is a thing... to some people, even non-Canadians.

A big fan,


  1. Travis simply doesn't have the intellect required to appreciate a beautiful game like hockey. It's not his fault.

    Go KINGS.

  2. Is that a #fact? Thank you for being the first person to post a comment! #gokingsgo